Friday, October 08, 2010

The Gap: Crowdsourcing to Correct An Error?

This week, the Gap introduced a new brand logo. The response, via various social media platforms, has been quite negative. How did the company respond? It posted this message on its Facebook page:

Thanks for everyone’s input on the new logo! We’ve had the same logo for 20+ years, and this is just one of the things we’re changing. We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we’re asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we’d like to... see other ideas. Stay tuned for details in the next few days on this crowd sourcing project.

What do we make of this rapid reaction by the company? At first glance, it seems quite ingenious to turn to crowdsourcing to address the negative feelings many consumers have about the new logo. They certainly have created a ton of buzz about this logo change. On the other hand, the move raises some fundamental questions. First, how does the company know if the negative reactions are coming from loyal customers, or just folks who like opining on various topics via social media? Second, how does the firm know if the negative reaction will translate into any lost sales? Third, will this move make it difficult for the firm to work with professional designers in the future? Won't they be upset by the rapid abandonment of something created by one of their professional colleagues and the turn to free crowdsourcing instead? Initial reactions from some in the design community have not been positive. Finally, won't the very same people who chose this logo be sifting through all the submissions in this crowdsourcing effort? What makes the firm feel that they will make a better decision this time. Clearly, the Gap needs to think carefully about its criteria and its process for selecting a new logo before it starts to pour over these submissions. Otherwise, it may make yet another error.


Michelle @Pen and Hive said...

Any chance the negative reaction (and subsequent publicity)is exactly what they intended? If only they had combined it with the noisy Sunchip bag technology for their shopping bags! A publicity triumph. :)

Unknown said...

The people have spoken!